Aesop's Fables printed by Plantin Press
Christophe Plantin was a French publisher who lived in Paris and Antwerp during the mid to late 1500s. He founded the Plantin Press, one of the largest publishing houses in Europe at the time. At peak production during the late 1560s/early 1570s, his publishing house had sixteen presses, thirty-two printers, twenty compositors, three proofreaders and various servants. His most famous work and largest production, funded by King Philip II, was a polyglot Bible, written in five different languages: Hebrew, Latin, Greek, Syriac and Aramaic. Overall, his press published around 2,450 titles and, with the completion of a new book, they would print around 1,000 to 1,250 copies.
This 1574 edition of Aesop’s Fables was a part of those thousands of publications. It is printed in Latin and Greek, in side-by-side panels. Half of the page is in Greek and the other half is in Latin and it follows that format for all the stories, but the index is solely in Latin. This formatting implies that it was a textbook used to study Greek. The size and scale of the book is quite small, an example of the wide variety of books published by the Plantin Press. It has been rebound, probably in the 19th century, in green-stained vellum with contrasting red tinted text edges. The binding has also been stamped with gold leaf in an elaborate design on the spine and a coat of arms on each cover. The person who had it rebound likely treasured this small specimen from the famous Plantin Press.
Antwerp: Ex officina Christiphori Plantini
Kent State University
Special Collections and Archives
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PA3851 .A2 1574
Title page, binding
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Curated by Kathleen Siebert Medicus with guest contributors